- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - More than 70 Illinois food companies, wineries and agriculture associations will participate this weekend in the 18th annual Illinois Products Expo.

Officials say there will be new exhibitors among those showcasing ice cream, cheese, seasonings, jams, and beer and wine. Tasting, sampling, and purchasing are encouraged.

Acting Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says Illinois ranks first among states for food processing sales at $186 billion. He says more than 2,300 food processors employ 71,000 workers.

Products to be sampled and purchased include fresh meat, gourmet seasonings and sauces, and homemade jams and jellies. Also on sale will be soy candles, agriculture-based soaps and lotions and more.

The expo will be at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5. Children 10 and under won’t be charged.

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Online: https://www.agr.state.il.us/marketing/expo/

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